News release

Unstabilized approach and improper braking technique during heavy rain led to September 2011 runway excursion at the Ottawa airport

Gatineau, Quebec, 27 March 2014 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A11H0003) into the 4 September 2011 runway excursion of United Express Flight 3363, operated by Trans States Airlines, at the Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.

The Embraer 145 was on a flight from Chicago to Ottawa with 44 passengers and 3 crew members aboard and landed Runway 32 during heavy rain. Shortly after touching down, the aircraft skidded off the left side of the runway, approximately 7,500 feet from the threshold. During the runway excursion, both of the main landing gear collapsed, damaging the wing and causing a fuel leak. Everyone aboard evacuated the aircraft safely and there was no fire.

The investigation found that the aircraft speed during the final approach exceeded the company’s stabilized approach criteria. Despite this, the crew did not perform a go-around, as per procedure when airspeed limits for the approach are exceeded. Just prior to landing, the crew applied engine power, which caused the aircraft to touch down 3,000 feet further from the threshold. The aircraft then hydroplaned on the wet runway due to the higher landing speed, a soft landing and the use of the emergency/parking brake, which disabled the anti-skid system and prolonged the skid. The aircraft then lost directional control while hydroplaning and veered off the left side of the runway.

Following the occurrence, the Ottawa International Airport Authority bought two rapid deployment emergency shelters to provide shelter from the elements following an emergency evacuation. The airport also plans to undertake a complete resurfacing of Runway 14/32, including grooving the pavement and including 300m runway end safety areas (RESAs), similar as to what was done on Runway 07/25 in 2012-13. In addition, Embraer made revisions to its E145 aircraft maintenance manual to clarify and ensure consistency of the information on the brake system.

Landing accidents and runway overruns are a TSB Watchlist issue. Watch the video!


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
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